O’Brien seeks state Senate seat

John O'Brien

John O’Brien, an educator and former iron worker who started a construction company, is seeking to represent Fort Dodge in the state Senate.

O’Brien is unopposed for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 5.

He will face state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R- Fort Dodge, in the November general election.

Senate District 5 includes Calhoun, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties plus most of Webster County.

”There appears to be some confusion at the state Senate on where the public funds, generated by our taxes, are applied,” O’Brien said. ”How in the world did general funds, our tax money, get used to pay off a wrongful settlement in a recent sexual harassment case? That situation needs to be addressed on several fronts so it doesn’t happen again.”

O’Brien said he and his brother, Mark, started the construction company Iron Specialities in 1985 without any government help.

”Why do four of the top Fortune 500 companies, billion dollar companies, need a tax break to move into our state, one of the top ranked states in the United States according to many measurements?” he asked. ”Nowhere that I have studied proves that these incentives affect job growth in any substantial way.”

”I believe that if our educational system, statewide educational system, is strengthened, then the fact of a well-educated population, combined with our Iowa work ethic, will draw the employers we value in Iowa,” he added.

O’Brien is a principal for the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District, where he leads a school designed to educate at-risk children.

He grew up in Atlantic and graduated from high school there in 1971. He is an Army veteran.

After being discharged from the Army, he joined Iron Workers Local 21 in Omaha, Nebraska.

He retired from an iron working career in 1987 and sold his share of Iron Specialities in 1990. He then went back to school. He earned an associate degree from Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. Then he earned a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University, in Omaha. He earned a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

He was a city councilman in Atlantic.

O’Brien and his wife, Gina, have two children and three grandchildren.


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